For Immediate Release
January 13, 2023
Contact: Chantal Fuller, Communications Director
Councilmember Christina Henderson Introduces Legislation That Invests in DC Residents
Washington, DC - Today, Councilmember Henderson re-introduced the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023 and the Commission on Public Compensation Establishment Amendment Act of 2023. Both bills had hearings during Council Period 24. Residents, advocates, and Commissioners expressed strong support for both bills at hearings held during the last Council Period.
The Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023 would expand coverage provided through private insurers, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance to include diagnosis and treatment for infertility. This bill received a hearing during Council Period 24 and the Committee on Business and Economic Development heard overwhelming support from families, reproductive justice advocates, and healthcare providers. Residents expressed the need for immediate and comprehensive access to fertility treatment, regardless of what their current insurer provides.
“Ever since I first introduced this bill, I’ve heard from countless residents who have had difficulty conceiving a child and who were stunned to learn that none of their efforts to start a family would be covered by their health insurance. One cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) alone can cost between $20,000 to $25,000 out of pocket,” said Councilmember Henderson. “State-mandated coverage has been shown to increase the use of infertility services 3-fold, which is also linked to better public health outcomes. It is time for the District to join the 19 states that have already mandated this coverage.”
This bill would mandate private insurers, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance to offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment of infertility. This legislation explicitly prohibits health insurers from imposing additional costs, waiting periods, or certain limitations on coverage for the diagnosis of infertility.
Insurance coverage is a significant part of a family’s fertility journey. Women not covered by insurance for IVF treatment are 3 times more likely to discontinue treatment after 1 cycle, compared to women with IVF insurance coverage. Currently, 19 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, including neighboring Maryland and West Virginia. Moreover, women of color often wade through infertility silently and do not seek treatments like IVF as frequently as white women. Specifically, according to the CDC’s most recent analysis, 8% of Black women aged 25 to 44 seek medical help to get pregnant, while 15% of white women do so.
Second, the Commission on Public Compensation Establishment Amendment Act of 2023 would establish a Commission on Public Compensation to review and make recommendations on the compensation and stipend levels for the members of Council of the District Columbia, the Mayor, the Attorney General, the members of the State Board of Education, and several public commissions and boards.
"The compensation levels for the District’s elected officials, boards, and commissions are established by statute and are reviewed and adjusted on an ad hoc basis. Although the DC Council passed legislation in 2006 to establish an Advisory Council to look at the compensation levels for the Mayor and Council, based on review of the records, it was never active," said Councilmember Henderson. "The last time that the District attempted to engage in a comprehensive study of the compensation and stipend levels of the District’s boards and commissions was in 2002. It is time to get this right and really commit to this conversation. If we want to recruit great people to serve in roles on important boards like the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or the Public Employee Relations Board, we should ensure individuals are being appropriately compensated for their work."
Many states including Maryland, Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington use some type of compensation commissions to inform the salaries set for elected and judicial officials. Currently, there are 21 boards and commissions in the District where members receive either compensation or a stipend for their work. However, some have argued that others like Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, which are elected, should be included among that group. Part of the charge of this Commission on Public Compensation will be to consider this and recommend to the Council an appropriate stipend level, if any. The Commission is structured to work over the course of a year and provide a report of recommendations to the Council and Mayor in time for recommendations to be considered and incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2025 (effective October 1, 2024) budget and financial plan.
The Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023 was co-introduced by Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Zachary Parker, Robert C. White, Jr., Janeese Lewis George, Charles Allen, Matthew Frumin, Brooke Pinto, and Brianne K. Nadeau.
The Commission on Public Compensation Establishment Amendment Act of 2023 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Zachary Parker, Janeese Lewis George, Vincent C. Gray, Matthew Frumin, Kenyan R. McDuffie, Brooke Pinto, and Brianne K. Nadeau.